Whenever states have contemplated cuts during budget crises, they always pick high profile cuts like shutting down parks, cutting teachers, firefighters and police. They never talk about cutting faceless staffers in the bureaucracy or duplicative programs. By cutting stuff that voters like, the tactic is intended to leave spending alone so voters will endorse increases in taxes. The same tactic has now occurred at the federal level. The president has just said "I cannot guarantee that those checks (social security and military pay) go out on August 3rd if we haven't resolved this issue. Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it." Obama said this in an interview with CBS Evening News. This president lying is nothing new. But this is outrageous and of course the interviewer on CBS News did not call him on it. All of us know that the government gets enough money to pay the interest on the debt, all entitlement payments and pay the military and even have a few billion left over. Pat Toomey (R-PA) had introduced legislation to mandate that the government must continue to pay these first knowing that the administration would try to play these games. By threatening to withhold these checks, Obama is hoping that the voters will pressure the republicans to raise the debt ceiling by raising taxes and not lowering spending significantly. Well if the republicans cave and fall for these disgraceful tactics then they are just fools. Only those politicians in districts populated by those who do not pay taxes should be able to safely vote for an increase in taxes. Even those who vote to increase the debt ceiling while decreasing spending should be in peril at the polls since spending cuts are never certain. The only certainty is that with no increase in the debt ceiling the federal government cannot increase spending. Ladies and gentlemen: Just say no.
Harold A. Black is professor emeritus in the Department of Finance, University of Tennessee, Knoxville having retired after 24 years of service. He has served on the faculties of American University, Howard University, the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and the University of Florida. His government service includes the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and as a Board Member of the National Credit Union Administration. He also has served on the boards of directors Home Savings of America and its parent company, H. F. Ahmanson & Co., Irwindale, California prior to its merger with Washington Mutual Savings Bank, on the board of New Century Financial Corporation, Irvine, California, then the nation’s largest real estate investment trust and as director and later chairman of the Nashville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He writes an occasional article for the Knoxville News-Sentinel at http://www.knoxnews.com/staff/dr-harold-black/. His web page is haroldablackphd.com